What an eventful time we’re having…….

As I type, race day is 2 days away, in less than 48 hours it will all be over – but for now I’ll tell you about the weekend.

The women’s team have been panicking that we’re going to make fools of ourselves come race day. We’ve only all rowed together once, on the river at Manawatu and it was a disaster….. well, it wasn’t good….

With Anneliese given the ok to row again after her blood poisoning our coach really kindly offered to give us 4 rowing sessions over the weekend – 2 on Saturday and 2 Sunday – we all leapt at the chance – the more time we can get on the water together the better. On Thursday one of our team, announced they were ‘too busy’ to make training on Sunday…. annoying to say the least, but at least we have Saturday

Saturday dawned and we gathered excitedly, the whole women’s and 3/4 of the men’s team (the men’s team are essentially race ready – damn them – and had borrowed a rower from another team to make up their 4). It wasn’t the best weather, it was cold, we got rained and hailed on, but there were also moments of beautiful warm sunshine and a rainbow. We were out for a good hour, wasn’t a perfect row, but we were moving and our racing starts were mostly not too bad……

Back on land, freezing cold we washed the boat down, put on some dry clothes and headed to Karaka Cafe (can’t recommend their ginger slices enough) to warm up.

Warming up in the cafe
Warming up in the cafe

This is where the weekend started to unravel. Three of us went for coffee and one went home for a shower (we had a 2 hour break, so fair enough). We watched the videos our coach had taken of us, saw our technique – realised that even when you think you’re doing something right, you’re not! We were chatting and it turns out that words were exchanged between 2 of our team – one person thought they were offering a bit of friendly technique advice (our old friend – balancing the boat) as she was moving her hands opposite to the way she was meant to. But this was not taken that way and extremely rude words were thrown back. She apologised as soon as they were back on land and thought the matter was over. We chatted with our coach and he suggested that if we have any issues to address them through him – him asking us how we thought things were going and us telling him…….

Our second session was shorter as hands were blistering and the weather was still pretty miserable. We did some race pieces, practising starts and rowing for a good 500m at speed – was great fun and we were going pretty well. The passing comments through the coach seemed to be working – balance issues as ever, and for me (sat in stroke seat) people rushing up their slide was meaning that I could only get half a stroke in……

We ended in pretty good spirits – coach even managed to persuade us all to come for the first coaching session on Sunday with the promise of being off the water at 9:30.

Sunday – I woke to a text from the coach saying someone had pulled out of the team. After checking whether he meant today or entirely, it was entirely……. I was shocked, but I guess not surprised. Apparently she wasn’t happy that someone had spoken to her, the way I’d spoken to her (I’m guessing last weekend, but that was the entire boat, nothing personal) and the way the coach spoke to her (I mean WTF????? That was the worst bit, he’s a great coach, always constructive critisism, encouragement with grumpiness generally when we’re not balancing the boat!) but also she has an exam coming up and doesn’t have the time to row with us (again WTF?? she decides this now, one day before a competition? Grrrr)

Anyway, we had to decide whether we wanted to try to persuade her back or find someone else. After much discussion, especially around the fact our indoor race was tomorrow, but also that she had been really rude to one of us yesterday and not apologised, we decided we’d give her the opportunity to change her mind, but we weren’t going to beg her – the coach assured us we’d find a spare for tomorrow and would come up with someone for race day – we also had several offers from various men to shave their legs and don wigs for us!!

The row itself was tricky – one of the men rowed with us and another was our cox (that wasn’t why it was tricky!) – the wind was blowing over 20 knots and meant the boat had a permanent lean to it meaning even more extreme boat balancing was needed!!!! We stayed mostly in the most sheltered bit of the harbour, it was hard work, but a good lesson in balancing, lots of starts and long rows – apart from being a team member down I think we all left feeling that we weren’t going to make fools of ourselves come race day (Saturday….)

Sadly our attempts to contact our missing team mate got no response and so by default we were on the hunt for a new team member

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